By Airman 1st Class Kia Atkins, 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 26, 2013
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- The day starts off normal enough. You wake up and head to the bathroom for a nice morning shower, except there's a spider dangling from your showerhead. You have a couple of options. You could carry the little guy outside or maybe crush it with a shoe or any other blunt object you have lying around.
But what if there isn't just one spider? What if there are hundreds of them? For a horrific scenario such as this, where pests overrun the household, an expert is needed.
Who are you going to call? Obviously not the "Ghostbusters", as this would not be their area of expertise, but if you live and work on base, the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron pest management shop, also known as entomology, is your best bet.
The 35 CES Pest Management shop's mission is to prevent pests and disease-ridden vectors from affecting military operations and missions by maintaining safe and environmentally-sound pest management programs.
There is more to stopping pests than just spraying chemicals and laying down traps. It's about educating people on pests and how to deal with them.
"It is often assumed that pest management will automatically spray for pests and those actions will eradicate the problem," said Tech. Sgt. Kepler Baksh, 35 CES NCO in charge of pest management. "This is an 'old fashioned' approach to pest control, which ignores the cause of pest problems and instead reacts by temporarily removing a small part of the infestation with chemicals."
While the pest management shop still includes the use of pesticides as a last resort, they mainly focus on a preventative maintenance process that controls pests by reducing their food, water, harborage and entry points.
"At Misawa, we employ an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy to effectively manage pests, reduce pesticides and maintain environmental stewardship," said Baksh.
IPM is an approach to pest control that utilizes regular monitoring to determine if and when treatments are needed. It employs physical, mechanical, cultural, biological and educational tactics to keep pest numbers low enough to prevent intolerable damage or annoyance.
"In IPM programs, treatments are not made according to a predetermined schedule," said Baksh. "They are made only when and where monitoring has indicated the pest will cause unacceptable economic, medical or aesthetic damage. Our program execution includes seven steps that are routine procedures for each pest problem."
When implemented, IPM minimizes harm to human health and the environment, reduces the need for pesticides, reduces pest resistance and minimizes pesticide waste. This is vital for the base populous, whose community surpasses 10,000 people.
While some people may encounter similar pests they may see in the U.S., the list here includes unfamiliar species. Some examples of the pests here are bees, hornets, wasps, flies, birds, bats, bed bugs, ticks, rodents, fleas, foxes, Tanuki (Japanese raccoon dog), badgers, Japanese Serow, caterpillars, cockroaches and feral animals.
Before calling pest management, there are some pests that people can handle on their own.
Occupants of Military Housing and building managers should use self-help measures for the following pests: cockroaches, ants (excluding carpenter ants), centipedes, crickets, earwigs, firebrats, flies, silverfish, pill bugs, mice and other flying or crawling insects that do not destroy Air Force property.
Maybe you've tried to get rid of the pests yourself, but your efforts are not working. If after 30 days the pests do not go away, call 35 CES Customer Service at 226-9675 to obtain a work order for an appointment.
If you have something a little more hostile such as rats, bees, wasps or hornets, you shouldn't take care of those yourself. If the pests you are dealing with pose a threat to yourself or others, it's best to leave it up to pest management personnel.
To prevent infestation, pest management said there are preventative measures you can take too, so pests don't become a problem. Occupants should inspect their living quarters and facilities regularly for possible entry points, and seal any cracks or crevices. They can also eliminate pest harborage areas by reducing clutter, and also, store food properly; such as in an air tight container.
"Sanitation is the most important step in any pest control effort," said Baksh. "Proper housekeeping methods can go a long way."
Pest management is available year-round and is only a phone call away. You can contact them by calling 226-4257.
"Customers are always welcome to call our office, we will gladly help point them in the right direction," said Baksh.